Bangkok Traffic

Shot these scenes over the last couple of days. I can’t explain it, but traffic in slow-mo continues to mesmerize me. Even after all these years of visiting Bangkok, I’m still just as fascinated with the staggeringly intense traffic here as I was the very first time I visited Bangkok back in 1988.

That was way before today’s super-efficient elevated and subterranean public transportation systems existed. My preferred way of getting from A to B back then was taking a Tuk-Tuk. What now takes 15 minutes on an air-conditioned, albeit often quite crowded Skytrain, could take way over an hour in a fuming three-wheeler as it zig-zagged through traffic jams or sped down alleys taking advantage of shortcuts.

I’m not sure the traffic situation in Bangkok has gotten that much better since BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway were introduced. The city’s population has likely grown so much and the vast majority of Bangkokians don’t want to/can’t afford to pay for the newer public transportation options. So, the motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and buses will probably continue to rule the Thai capital’s highways, streets and alleys for years to come. And I don’t see how autonomous vehicles could ever have a future here. One huge improvement from my earliest days here is that the low-grade fuel used in most cars and motorcycles, including Tuk-Tuks, has thankfully been replaced with higher octane gasoline. The diesel-propelled trucks and buses are unfortunately still around, though. Still, this time of year, the smog situation isn’t that bad as during spring and summer when it gets unbearably hot and the air is thick with pollutants.

I wonder what it’s going to take to alleviate Bangkok’s poor air quality. Maybe Elon Musk could be hired as a consultant. Legislating that all vehicles must be driven with electricity by say, 2030 would certainly be a challenge worth pursuing.